Prada comes to be in 1913 with the opening of the first store in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. It was Mario Prada, grandfather of Miuccia, and his brother who got the activity started, at the time called “Fratelli Prada” that sold bags, suitcases and travel accessories of luxury leatherwear. The quality of the products attracted the attention of the royal house of Savoia that in 1919 made them the official court supplier; for this reason in the iconic logo of the brand there is the house crest and the rope with the Savoia knot.
Mario Prada, at those time was firmly convinced that the society should be patriarchal and that women should not work: his son however did not want to follow in his father’s footsteps and take over the family business and it was his daughter Luisa who took the reins and led it successfully up to the mid seventies when her daughter, Miuccia Prada entered the scene as accessories designer. It was the encounter between her and the entrepreneurs Patrizio Bertelli, his current husband and CEO, that revolutionized the history of the brand.
In 1979, the brand introduced for the first time a footwear line that was very successful and launched Prada in the international market, leading to the opening of a series of flagship stores, which had as their distinctive feature green walls that still today identify a Prada store; the first one opened in Milan in via della Spiga, and then the stores in New York, Madrid, London, Paris, and Tokyo followed. Prada stood out for its innovation, since Miuccia created the multi-pocket backpack “Vela”realized with the iconic nylon of the fashion house. It was the first time that a synthetic material was used in high fashion and from then on it became a symbol for Prada brand. The bags have always been a signature item of the brand, many of them became cult models: for example the shoulder mini bag recreated recently as Re-Edition, the bowling bag and the Galleria collection, dedicated to the iconic location of the store. The unstoppable success makes it possible for Prada to present its first ready-to-wear fashion show during Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter. The collection stands out for its classic and luxury style and for the rigid simplicity of the garments inspired by the male wardrobe, which highlight a more fun approach featuring many vivid colors
The nineties saw a huge expansion of the brand at a global level, Prada represents a one of a kind quality and creativity of Italian fashion. On its runways have walked the most famous top models: Sulle sue passerelle hanno sfilato le top models: Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Carla Bruni and Linda Evangelista. In 1993 the first male collection is launched and the Miu Miu fashion house, conceived for the younger public with a more fresh and cool style. In 1997 the Luna Rossa team comes to be, as a result of the passion of Patrizio Bertelli who loves sailing, and they obtain many successes. From the combination of sort and fashion the Prada Linea Rossa is conceived, the collection dedicated to garments with a minimal and sporty style featuring the logo with iconic red line.
According to Miuccia Prada what defines her style is her attraction to the ugly and ability to make it fascinating: the ugly chic aesthetic par excellence. Her garments have their roots in Milan’s bourgeois but are also inspired to menswear and military uniforms. The protagonist of the collections is always the woman’s dream her history from a social and political standpoint. Her creations are not only related to fashion but are also inspired by art and architecture, passions that will lead her and her husband to the foundation of Fondazione Prada in 1993, with the goal to make contemporary art known in Italy. In the 2000s, to make the Prada collections immediately recognizable are the prints that enrich the garments with geometric patterns, sea monsters, bananas, flames and lightning bolts
In 2019 the brand introduced Prada Re-Nylon, a fabric developed entirely with nylon obtained from plastic waste retrieved from the ocean or regenerated waste scraps; this shows his Prada continues to be an innovative brand, able to reinvent itself and show how fashion has to adapt to new consumer trends.